Friday 4 August 2017

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway - Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Kissing Max Holden
Author: Katy Upperman
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 1st, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult 

Book Description:
Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea… After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

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This was an interesting read, particularly all the drama between the characters and their toxic relationship dynamics. Jill and Max have been longtime friends, but after Max's father has a stroke, Max starts to withdraw into himself and comes to Jill for solace. The two find themselves falling for each other, which wouldn't be a problem if Max was available, but he isn't. His girlfiend, Becky, isn't the only problem in Jill's life, however. Her father and pregnant stepmother have problems of their own, and Jill finds herself in the middle of the mayhem.

Based on first impressions, I would describe Kissing Max Holden as something like marmite: you either love it or you hate it. Fortunately, I kind of loved it. I say "kind of" because there were a number of things I didn't like about the book, particularly the consistent "will they, won't they" scenario between Jill and Max. I became tired of reading about their indecisive nature when it came to whether or not they should be together. Personally, for me, their chemistry was purely sexual. They were once close friends who grew apart as they aged, so perhaps they thought consummating a physical relationship would somehow reignite the strong bond they once had. It wasn't so much love as it was lust, so it didn't really matter to me if they got together. There were also times where the story dragged and seemed stagnant, and for a while it couldn't break out of a loop. It was just Jill and Max repeating the same mistakes without coming to any decisions. Although Max had his girlfriend to consider, it didn't feel as though there was much at stake when it came to his relationship with Jill. Thankfully, the book didn't settle for too long in this inert state, so it didn't deter me from finishing the book.

I didn't connect with some of the characters as they were undeveloped (Becky, for one), and because of this, other characters' actions (specifically Max) seemed pointless or illogical. Honestly, I didn't care much for Becky (I wasn't given the chance to care), so when it came to Max's infidelity, I can't say it bothered me much. It would have been good if she were more three dimensional, so I could feel some empathy for me, or at least be able to decide whether or not I wished to empathise with her.

There's a lot of deceit and hurt to contend with. I can imagine a lot of people not being happy about the infidelity that occurs in this story, but the way I see it, these are depictions of situations that happen in real life. You can't have the good without the bad. I may not like the topic, but I'm more concerned with whether or not the author's portrayal of her characters in these situations were believable, and they were.

Kissing Max was an enjoyable read. The problems I found with the story didn't weigh too heavy on me, so I was able to feel different emotions throughout - quite like how Jill felt about her relationship with Max actually. Due to the story's content (the issue of infidelity), I can see some readers having a problem with this one, but I think Jill and Max will win the majority.


Award: Silver
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Source: Review copy via Xpresso Book Tours

About the Author:
Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies, or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. Kissing Max Holden is her debut novel.

Author Links:  


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  1. Thanks for being on the tour! This sounds like a cute beach read! :)

  2. The book description and your review sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Love the cover too.

  3. I think the book sounds good. It would be nice to read!